Two-time All-Canadian and Dinos co-captain DaLeaka Menin is the Canada West MVP after a big season for the undefeated Dinos. Honoured as the conference and CIS Rookie of the Year in 2013, Menin has been a key component to the Dinos' success ever since.
Arguably one of the top front row players in the country, her unique skill set allows her to play many different styles of rugby. While she prefers to lead by example, DaLeaka is one of the integral drivers of the Dinos culture of hard work and commitment both on and off the field.
The Vulcan native scored a try in the Dinos' final three regular season games and is also a key factor on defence for the Dinos. Her combination of athleticism as well as her understanding of the game puts her in a class by herself. She has the strength and power to be a dominant scrummager, as well as the skills and intuition to be a legitimate attacking threat as a ball carrier and playmaker.
"Our setpiece is a cornerstone of our success this season and DaLeaka is a big reason we are so dominant," said head coach Simon Chi. "This season she has raised the bar in Canada West rugby by bringing international quality performances to every game she has played. Her humble demeanor and puritan work ethic lead her to always seek improvement and these attributes will serve her well in life beyond her time as a student athlete in the CIS."
Rookie of the Year
Abbotsford RFC product Mackenzie Carson is the conference rookie of the year, after finishing her first Canada West season tied for 11th in conference scoring with 15 points.
The Abbotsford product recorded tries in games against Victoria, Alberta and Lethbridge during the four-game conference regular season.
Carson joined the Thunderbirds this season as a highly touted recruit and was a member of the Canadian U-20 women's team that travelled to England in August to compete in a three-game series against their English counterparts.
Provincially, Carson captained the BC team that won the National 7s Championship and the Las Vegas International 7s Championship earlier this year.
Student-Athlete Community Service Award
Deborah Adesegun is the 2016-17 Canada West Rugby Student-Athlete Community Service Award winner. The sophomore flanker for the University of Alberta helped the Pandas to a 2-2 record in conference play, as well as the Canada West bronze medal. She scored one try in four games this season as well.
Originally from Lagos, Nigeria, Adesegun was recruited to the U of A after completing high school in Calgary. She's been with the Pandas for three seasons, but red-shirted in her first year. She is a student in the U of A's Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, with a focus on medicine. She volunteers as a camp counsellor in the summer, and she sits as an executive member of a board that advocates for medical access and treatments for people in developing countries. She provides pastoral care for members of retirement centers in Edmonton, and is also involved in a 'study buddy' program that tutors students. On top of all that, she recently travelled to Guatemala to work in an HIV clinic, and has plans to do so again in the summer of 2017. Additionally, she teaches Sunday school classes at her local church.
Coach of the Year
For the second time in his seven-year career, Calgary's Simon Chi is the Canada West Rugby Coach of the Year.
Chi last earned the award in 2011 in just his second year at the helm of the Dinos, who have emerged as a conference power over the last several seasons under Chi's leadership.
Compiling a Canada West regular season record of 18-9-1, Chi captured Calgary's elusive first conference title Sunday.
"Simon has done a great job leading our women's rugby team for seven of the eight years of the program's history," said Calgary Athletic Director Christine Stapleton. "This is terrific recognition for Simon and the entire staff that work with the women's rugby program to cultivate excellence on and off the field. We congratulate him on this well-deserved honour."
2016 CANADA WEST RUGBY ALL-STAR TEAM
Position / Name / University / Eligibility / Hometown / Program
Prop / DeLeaka Menin / University of Calgary / 4th / Vulcan, Alta. / Arts
Prop / Chelsey Minter / University of Victoria / 5th / Victoria, B.C. / Humanities
Hooker / Emily Tuttosi / University of Calgary / 4th / Souris, Man. / Kinesiology
Lock / Sara Haring / University of Alberta / 5th / Sturgeon County, Alta. / Education
Lock / Kasselle Menin / University of Calgary / 2nd / Vulcan, Alta. / Arts
Back Row / Gillian Boag / University of British Columbia / 4th / Calgary, Alta. / Applied Science
Back Row / Julia Folk / University of Victoria / 3rd / Regina, Sask. / Science
Back Row / Temi Ogunjimi / University of Calgary / 4th / Calgary, Alta. / Arts
Scrum Half / Amanda Smith / University of Alberta / 5th / Sherwood Park, Alta. / Education
Fly Half / Jess Neilson / University of Victoria / 3rd / North Vancouver, B.C. / Social Sciences
Centers / Nicole Ronsky / University of Lethbridge / 5th / Calgary, Alta. / Management
Centers / Mackenzie Lee / University of British Columbia / 4th / Langley, B.C. / Arts
Back Three / Madeleine Graham / University of Victoria / 3rd / Edmonton, Alta. / Science
Back Three / Savannah Dubien / Univ. of Alberta / 2nd / Edmonton, Alta. / Campus St. Jean
Back Three / Elysa Sandron / University of Calgary / 3rd / Winnipeg, Man. / Science